If you insist on trying your luck in the casino, it pays to know what you're getting into. Ideally you want to play games that offer you the best odds possible.
This immediately takes the thousands upon thousands of one-armed bandits that line casino floors out of the equation. How much fun can putting bill after bill into a machine only to watch some wheels spin be? Apparently quite a bit, because slot machines are by far the biggest money-makers in the casino industry.
Now that we've left the slot machines to Grandma, it's time to play a real game. If you want to give yourself the best chance to make it to the cashier with chips in hand, stick to one of three games: blackjack, craps or baccarat.
Before you run to the nearest blackjack table and start splitting sixes against tens or doubling down with a ten against an ace, take a few minutes to learn basic blackjack strategy. If you don't feel like memorizing the card, just take one with you. You might look a little bit like a tourist but at least you'll make the right decisions.
There are a multitude of rules that can either benefit or hurt the player. Make sure to check around to find the best game possible before you launch your attack.
There is one rule that should be an automatic deal breaker no matter how attractive the girls (or guys) who are playing at the table are: never play a blackjack game that doesn't pay 3-2 for blackjack.
Some tables will offer 6-5 for blackjack (usually single-deck games), and you should avoid these like the plague. If they're paying you 6-5 for blackjack, then chances are that they also are hitting soft 17 - another rule that hurts the player.
Do a little homework and find a game where the dealer will stand on soft 17.
Beyond this, there are other rules that affect your edge, such as being allowed to resplit aces, double down on splits or surrender. If you're just out to have a good time, simply focus on the two main rules mentioned before and bring your strategy card.
The next game you can try is definitely the liveliest game in the casino. Given the right rules, this game will offer the lowest house edge of any game by far. Get those dice and shake 'em up at the craps table. The layout can seem daunting but you'll be ignoring the vast majority of it unless you want to start leaking money like a sieve.
The only bet in the casino that is a straight-up even-odds bet is one that isn't even marked on the layout. That bet is called the odds bet and it goes behind the pass line bet. When you get to the table put the table minimum on the pass line and wait for a dealer to roll the "point."
On a come-out roll, a two, three or 12 will immediately make your pass line bet disappear. A seven or 11 is a winner, and you will be rewarded by a 1-1 payout. A four, five, six, eight, nine or 10 will be the point. The only objective now is to roll one of those numbers before a seven.
This is where the odds bet comes in. The odds bet is placed by putting chips behind the pass line bet. The odds of rolling a 10 are 2-1 and that's exactly what you get paid on the odds bet if it's the point and it comes in. The odds for a six or eight are 6-5 and the five and nine pay 3-2, again true odds.
Casinos will limit the maximum you can place behind the pass line with 5x odds usually being the max. There are a couple of places in Las Vegas that will let you bet 100x and that's where you should try to play. If you bet $5 on the pass line and take full odds at one of these tables for $500, you're playing a game that has a razor thin .021% edge! There is no other game in Las Vegas that will offer you such good odds. The edge is nearly nonexistent.
Every once in a while you'll see someone betting $50 on the pass line at a $10 minimum table with no odds behind. These people are called idiots.
They are choosing to pay 1.41% house edge on the full $50 rather than choosing to pay the "tax" on the minimum $10 with the $40 "working" the odds at absolutely zero house edge. If you're going to play craps, remember to bet as small possible on the pass line, with as much on the odds bet as they let you.
The last game you can try out is a good one to play if you're severely intoxicated. There are no decisions to be made and it is the game of choice of wealthy people worldwide, as well as of James Bond. It's a social game as well, with tables holding up to 14 players.
The setup is simple: you post your money on either the dealer or banker position and then the dealer will deal out two cards. Face cards and tens are worth zero, all number cards are worth face value, and aces are worth one.
Baccarat is basically a glorified game of war. You get two cards and add the value together. An eight or nine is a known as a "natural" and you don't draw again. Any other total will draw one more card for a final hand.
After the cards are dealt, the ones that add up to the highest total win. When it comes down to it, the only decision you have to make is whether or bet on the player or the bank. Just walk in, pretend like you know what you're doing, bet some money, and see what happens. If you're a true degenerate, it shouldn't be hard.